Ban vending machines from schools -report

By June Shannon Policy News   |   11th Jul 2018

New report makes recommendations aimed at tackling childhood obesity.

A new report from the Joint Committee on Education and Skills has suggested imposing an “outright ban” on vending machines selling unhealthy snacks from schools.

Coupled with highlighting parental involvement, the ‘Report on tackling of obesity and the promotion of healthy eating in schools,’ also suggests measures that schools could take to promote healthy lifestyles and nutrition, coupled with the provision of physical education to prevent obesity before it becomes established.

The report also recommended that unhealthy foods and drinks should no longer be available for sale in school canteens/shops and fresh drinking water should be freely available to all school children in Ireland.

The Committee also recommended that consideration be given to exploring the possibility that the revenue generated from the sugar tax should be used for initiatives which aim to promote a healthy weight and active lifestyle and break times should to be targeted to promote increased activity in children.

“The Joint Committee is gravely concerned about prevalence of childhood obesity in Ireland and the potential for a future health epidemic,"

Fiona O’Loughlin TD, Chair of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills

It also stated that schools without access to physical education facilities should be prioritised under the school building programme, so that the roll-out of physical education as an examinable subject to all post-primary students, can be facilitated if the Minister for Education and Skills decides to do so.

Chair of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills, Fiona O’Loughlin TD, said today, “The Joint Committee is gravely concerned about prevalence of childhood obesity in Ireland and the potential for a future health epidemic. With this in mind, we decided to focus on producing a report that would make practical recommendations that could be incorporated in the Government’s plans for tackling childhood obesity. The Committee’s focus is on the measures that can be taken and implemented at school level, including greater access to physical education (P.E) and the banning of unhealthy snacks from school vending machines and canteens.”

“Childhood obesity is a problem across the developed world and it is a complex problem, in that it is driven by biological, behavioural, and contextual factors. The unaffordability of healthy foods in comparison to processed foods is an issue that needs to be tackled globally. In Ireland, if we are to deal with a problem which costs the State approximately €1 billion annually in treating individuals who are overweight or obese, it is essential that on-going and sustainable school programmes, teacher training, and training for communities and parents are in place to reverse obesity trends.”

"The Committee also recommends that revenue raised from the sugar sweetened drinks tax should be ringfenced for measures to tackle child obesity,"

Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy, Irish Heart Foundation

Welcoming the report Mr Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation said, “This is an excellent report, with a number of crucial recommendations to help put our school campuses beyond the reach of junk food manufacturers and marketers once and for all. In addition to key initiatives such as a ban on vending machines selling unhealthy food and drinks, the Committee also recommends that revenue raised from the sugar sweetened drinks tax should be ringfenced for measures to tackle child obesity. This can magnify the impact of the tax by funding a range of measures to protect our children’s future health.”

 

 

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childhood obesity junk food nutrition schools sugar sweetened drink sugar tax

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